Cricket: Delayed county cricket season to begin on August 1

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The delayed 2020 county cricket season will finally begin on August 1, announced the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Monday.

The season, due to start in April, was suspended indefinitely in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, also pushing ECB’s new tournament ‘The Hundred’ to 2021.

The format of the County Championship will be decided by the 18 First-Class Counties in early July and subsequently, the new schedule will be announced.

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“A commitment to play women’s domestic cricket in 2020 has also been made, but may differ from the planned rollout of the new women’s elite domestic structure,” said the ECB in a statement.

“Preparation and planning for the season across the men’s and women’s domestic game remains subject to ongoing advice from Government and medical professionals with the safety of players, staff and officials the first priority.”

The players can also resume training “on or before July 1” and plans for the season include “options for red-ball and white-ball cricket”.

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ECB Chief Executive Officer, Tom Harrison, said: “It is a significant step for our game…

“It must be stressed that the safety of our players, staff and officials has been the first priority through all discussions and Government guidance will continue to shape our planning and preparation.

“Planning for the return of the women’s domestic game remains ongoing, but our commitment to women’s domestic cricket is unwavering and we look forward to sharing further news shortly.”

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International cricket is set to begin in England with the hosts taking on West Indies in a three-match Test series beginning July 8.

The series, to be played in a bio-secure environment, marks the resumption of international cricket which was suspended abruptly in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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